That night, Lovell (the team leader with the crazy face) walks up with Pappy and Espera to where Nate and Gunny Wynn are keeping watch. They've heard Encino Man is going forward with his complaint against Nate and are none too happy. "And, well, sir, we just want to say that if it comes to the CO charging you with insubordination..." Nate stands up, cutting Pappy off and shouting faster than Ray Person: "--Shutthefuckup and do your fucking jobs. What happens between Captain Schwetje and me is none of your fucking business." He takes off down the hill, leaving the three men staring at Wunn. "Gunny, we were just trying..." Wynn explains the other part of that little quasi-meltdown, which is that Nate's also taking on a role here. "LT doesn't want this thing to mess with the platoon, and he sure as hell doesn't want anybody taking sides for or against." Nate listens as Wynn explains it to them and tells them to back the fuck down. "The shit's on the Lieutenant and he wants it to stay that way." They leave; Nate stands alone. Wynn looks back at him. Could be worse, he could do the Iceman and go live in a hole.
Captain America digs a hole, quite busily. Dirty Earl and somebody else are watching him when Kocher walks up. "Fuck are you two retards doing? Get up on that fucking gun!" The other Marine asks what the fuck Captain America's doing, and Kocher, hoping he's pulled it off, says he has no idea. "Dirty, explain this shit to me," says the Corporal, and Dirty says he's assuming it's time for a combat jack. "Captain feels the need to entrench in a solitary position before letting one fly." He's not wrong.
Cap digs and digs; he squares the sides. The respect of his men, the admiration of men he respects, men with experience and the trust and love of their platoon. The idea that we're all in this together, and that doing his best is good enough. The fact that real war is not much like GI Joe after all. If I put a cartoon on the table on your left, and the reality of war on the table to your right, which one would you pick? Finally he's dug down far enough, he thinks. He hopes. He drops the AKs into the hole, one by one. Quite a little armory, in the dirt. The kind of thing a boy could be proud of. And when he's done, he sits down on the side of the hole, and looks out into the night. A little grave for dreams, in the sand, where nobody will ever see it.